Compensation a sore subject for physicians

By BenefitsPro

By Kathryn Mayer

What do physicians want?

To start, a bigger paycheck, big city employment and fewer hassles.

That’s the finding of a new survey by The Medicus Firm, a national physician recruiting firm.

Physicians said they were generally dissatisfied with their incomes in 2012, blaming declining reimbursements and administrative hassles as major factors in their stagnant compensation.

The survey of more than 2,500 doctors, that aims to gauge practice preferences, also found that that nearly 60 percent of physicians prefer metropolitan or suburban locations, while only about 6 percent are open to a smaller town with fewer than 25,000 residents.

More than half (54 percent) of new physicians indicated a preference for employment by a hospital (28 percent) or academic center (26 percent). The majority also said they preferred to work in the Eastern region of the country.

Compensation seemed to be a sore subject for many physicians. When asked what they feel limits their income the most, physicians selected “declining reimbursements” from a list of several factors.

Physicians expressed frustration with the limits of hospital contracts and pay structures, as well as the time spent learning and using electronic health records, which they feel slows them down and reduces productive face-time with patients.

Though most physicians reported flat or declining income, a few specialties experienced some income growth, such as hospitalists, emergency medicine, ob/gyn, and general surgery.

The survey comes on the heels of a documented doctor shortage, in part due to the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Jim Stone, president of The Medicus Firm, said that physician recruiting — and keeping doctor happy in the workplace — is significant as their demand is greater than ever.

Originally published on